I rarely cook and when I do I scarcely venture outside of my four favorite no-fail recipes. When I emailed my friend a link to the Best Chicken Recipes on RealSimple.com and told him to choose one I knew I would be up against a challenge as I had only attempted one recipe on the list before and it didn’t turn out all that well. Luckily, the potpie recipe turned out to be as simple as it purported, and it was incredibly delicious. I recommend this recipe to anyone; see it after the jump!
When trying a recipe for the first time you learn a lot. Here are my lessons learned:
- It is hard impossible to find small round aluminum foil pans. In a survey of Wal-mart, Target and Albertsons, none of these major retailers carry potpie-suitable foil pans. Your best bet is to buy some inexpensive ramekins. I bought mine at World Market for $2.99 a piece. Note: The ramekins I purchased did not say “oven safe.” I took a chance and they held up well and we had no problems.
- Pie crusts are round. When you cut them into quarters you end up with pie shaped pieces of dough. You can easily make them round by balling up the dough then flattening and shaping with a rolling pin. This helps them to fit in the round bowls better which makes for prettier pot pies.
- There are several types of frozen mixed vegetables. When I was at the store I could only find “California Mixed Veggies” in the freezer, so that is what I bought. The carrots were great but it was a little unusual having broccoli (which wasn’t that bad) and cauliflower (yuck!) in a potpie. From now on I’ll hold out for a more traditional potpie mix (carrots, peas, celery and onions). In fact, the recipe was so good, I might even splurge and buy fresh veggies! Note: On Monday, after I had already bought my ingredients, I received my February Real Simple which gives a “healthier” pot pie recipe that includes measurements for fresh veggies. I’ll try and post it when I get a chance or just pick up a copy of RS on the newsstand.
- You have to cook the chicken. I am not a great chef so when I try a new dish I follow the recipe to a tee. Unfortunately this recipe did not actually instruct me to cook the chicken. It merely says to use “cooked chicken” in the ingredient list. I had the entire potpie mixture ready to go before I realized this. (Actually, I didn’t realize it; my mom just happened to stroll in and ask if we were making vegetarian pot pies!) Thankfully I had the chicken thawed and just had to throw a couple breasts in boiling water.
- Other tidbits: Here are some other recipe tweaks that we made on the spot. I’ve included my suggestions on the original recipe below in blue. (1) One can of Cream of Chicken soup makes for a very dry mixture. We added another half a can to make a more traditional potpie mixture. (2) Go ahead and add another 1/4 cup of milk to balance out the extra soup. (3) Two boiled chicken breasts turned out well. For more chicken, add a third.
Despite the seemingly long list of lessons learned the pot pies turned out fabulously! They were delicious and we ate every last bite! I can now add a fifth recipe to my repertoire of never-fail crowd pleasers. We refrigerated the two not eaten last night and I will soon go home to heat one up for lunch! Don’t you just love leftovers?!
1 8-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables (make sure you get the right mix!)
2 refrigerated pie crusts (such as Pillsbury)
(1.5) 1 10 ¾-ounce can cream of chicken soup
(3/4) 1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey (two large chicken breasts)
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 375° F. Defrost the vegetables in a microwave for about 3 minutes. Cut 2 pie crusts into quarters, to yield 8 equal pieces. Coat the inside of 4 small aluminum-foil pans (4 ½ inches in diameter, 1 ¼ inches deep) or 4 ramekins with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bottom of each with a quarter of crust, molding it with your fingers to fit. In a large bowl, stir together the soup and milk; add the remaining ingredients. Spoon about 2/3 cup of the mixture into each pan or ramekin. Top each with a pie crust quarter. Pinch the edges together and cut vents in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 572(0% from fat); FAT 32g (sat 6g); CHOLESTEROL 61mg; CALCIUM 71mg; CARBOHYDRATE 46g; SODIUM 1221mg; PROTEIN 25mg; FIBER 3g; IRON 3mg
Real Simple, SEPTEMBER 2004 Fake It, Don’t Make It